I’m going to start this off with a simple quote I heard recently at one of my networking meetings:
“In the business world, there are only wins and lessons.”
Not wins and losses, but lessons. Think about that for a moment. Every engagement and encounter has some type of lesson behind it. This is especially true when you’re in the business of making money and your interactions with people can make or break the moment. One thing I have learned in this freelance journey is that the power of human connection can never be underestimated. Sure, you can accomplish a lot on your own, but knowing how to connect and stay connected comes with endless reward. I’ve been in this freelance/blogging game for a whopping 1 year now and I have to say I’ve learned some serious lessons in addition to my experience in the world of personnel administration. So the next time you’re on the way to meeting with a potential client, keep these things in mind.
Talking your head off
There is nothing worse than a conversation being dominated by someone who keeps blabbering (about themselves) with no end in sight. As soon as introductions are made they start going off about who they are, what they do, how long they’ve been doing it, statistics, blah blah blah.
It’s a huge turn off.
Don’t you hate being in that position? Well imagine how a potential client would feel if you started off a meeting that way. A full 20 minutes has passed and you have not given them the chance to tell you anything about themselves. Chances are the possibilities of gaining a new client are a wash and you’ve shot yourself in the foot.
What should you do instead? Listen. That’s the only way you’ll know what your client wants instead of going by what you think they want. Give them the platform first. Let them talk and feel comfortable with you. It will give you insight and the upper hand in landing a deal.
Lack of confidence
They say 90 percent of communication is non-verbal. They know exactly what they’re talking about. Your body tells on you more than you realize. Lack of confidence screams louder than any façade you try to put on and is an automatic turn-off for prospective clients. Why should they have confidence in your product when you barely show any confidence in yourself? This doesn’t mean you can’t be nervous, or that you should have a parade march into the room to announce you. That doesn’t mean confidence.
You’ll need to be mindful of how you come off when interacting with potential clients. Make notes for yourself so you’ll know exactly what you’re going over. Your potential client needs to know why they need you and why it is a disadvantage to them if they don’t hire you. If you come with uncertainty about yourself you give them every reason to walk away. What do you have to offer? Make that determination to let them know. It will be very hard for them to turn you down at that point.
Not discussing prices upfront
I personally used to be shy of this – telling people what I charge. But then I learned business is business and the work I put in is quality, so I charge for what I feel my time and effort is worth. Price talk shouldn’t come as an unpleasant surprise at the end of the conversation after you’ve had a bunch a feel good moments with a potential client. Once you’ve learned what they want, tell them what you can do price wise. If they feel it’s too expensive it doesn’t mean the deal making has to end. Tell them what you can do for them within your budget – that makes them feel much comfortable with you and you don’t have to devalue yourself in the process. But you have to be sure to tell them upfront what the deal is. No one wants to be blind sighted down the road.
This freelance business can be tricky. The best thing you can do is be yourself and know what you bring to the table.
What do you think are some of the best ways to get and keep clients?